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In December 2019, Orange was the first provider in Belgium to launch a stand-alone 5G network for businesses in the Port of Antwerp. The results of this project were presented on 22 October at the virtual Start Walking 5G event.
Orange chose the Port of Antwerp as the location for its first 5G test hub for businesses. The large variety of industries active at the port site made it possible to test a wide range of 5G applications in actual business contexts. Moreover, the Port of Antwerp is in the middle of transitioning to a more sustainable way of working. At the Start Walking 5G event, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Port of Antwerp, Erwin Verstraelen, indicated that 5G will play a pivotal role in this transition. As the Port sees 5G as a catalyst for a host or innovations, the test project was more than welcome.
Use cases illustrate 5G potential
In this test phase, five companies explored the possibilities of the stand-alone 5G network. At the virtual event they were happy to share their experiences.
- Port of Antwerp is using 5G to optimise the work of the tugboats. The 5G network makes real-time HD images from a controllable camera installed on the tugboat available in the control room and on other tugboats, greatly improving the efficiency of the navigation process.
- BASF is looking for an alternative to the classic walkie-talkies used by several services for business-critical communication. Thanks to 5G, walkie-talkies can easily be replaced by smartphones, with additional applications such as live video streaming also possible.
- Covestro, a world leader in the area of polymers, is using 5G to support its field operators. Tablets and augmented reality glasses have replaced all paper, guaranteeing that all information necessary for working efficiently is instantly available.
- Borealis, a producer of polyolefins, basic chemicals and fertilisers, is using a cloud application for the quality control of its products. Thanks to 5G, this application no longer has to be connected via a fixed cable network. Instead, the devices can be efficiently and safely linked to the cloud.
- Helicus has called on Orange’s 5G expertise for the transport of medical supplies via drones. For this, a reliable and guaranteed connection with high bandwidth is absolutely essential: 5G is up to the challenge. 5G also meets Helicus’s security demands.
Start Walking 5G
At the event, Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise Officer at Orange, stated that the test in the Port of Antwerp proves that 5G could be a game changer for the Belgian economy. However, the introduction of 5G in Belgium faces some challenges. As a result, our society and economy cannot fully capitalise on the enormous potential of 5G. We are falling behind our neighbouring countries according to the results of a Deloitte study presented during the event.
However, Orange aims to prepare more businesses for the future. Through a project dubbed ‘Start Walking 5G’, it aims to increase knowledge of 5G and introduce businesses to the possibilities this network offers in real life.